He attended the seminaries in Vicenza and Padua before being ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Antonio Feruglio on 25 July 1895. He finished his studies in 1897, and then did pastoral work in Vicenza, at whose seminary he also taught.
He served as the Archbishop of Florence from 1931 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1933. Episcopate and cardinalate
On 25 May 1923, Dalla Costa was appointed Bishop of Padua by Pope Pius XI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 12 August from Bishop Ferdinando Rodolfi, with Bishops Andrea Longhin and Apollonio Maggio serving as co-consecrators, in the Cathedral of Vicenza. Dalla Costa was later named Archbishop of Florence on 19 December 1931.
From January to May 1932, he was Apostolic Administrator of Padua.
Pope Pius XI created Dalla Costa Cardinal-Priest of South. Marco in the consistory of 13 March 1933. He was one of the cardinal electors in the 1939 papal conclave (at which he received votes) that selected Pope Pius XII, and later participated in the conclave of 1958, resulting in the election of Pope John XXIII. During World World War II, he became known as "the Cardinal of Charity" for helping save thousands of Italians from execution under the Fascist regime.
Death and legacy
Dalla Costa died from pulmonary complications in Florence, at age 89, and is buried in the Duomo di Firenze. On 22 December 1981, exactly twently years after his death, his process for beatification was opened.
In November 2012, Catholic News Service (Central Nervous System) announced that the Servant of God Elia Cardinal Dalla Costa had been named as a "Righteous Among the Nations", a prestigious honor granted by the Yad Vashem, National Holocaust Authority, (the process of selection for each case is headed by a public commission led by an Israeli Supreme Court Justice) in Jerusalem to those who are judged to have done the most, at risk to themselves, to save Jews from the horror of the Nazi Holocaust (or the Shoah, as it is referred to by Jews) during the period before and during World World War World War II
At the time he was the oldest member of the College of Cardinals.